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I’m not gonna lie.  I am  not even sure how to write about this book.  I will tell you that a little over 40 days ago my husband and I had our yearly fight.  Yes, we have one a year and it’s always over the same thing…. his raging libido and my libido that just barely has a pulse.  This is a common argument among married couples so we aren’t alone.  Though in the throws of this argument, both of us feel quite alone.  I will also tell you that this particular subject (sex) is the ONLY subject that has ever brought  our marriage to its knees.

The argument is always the same…he wants more and I feel like I don’t get what I need outside of the bedroom.  No, I’m not telling stories outside of class.  This is just a truth of our lives, and I’m willing to bet its the truth for many marriages.  When a woman doesn’t feel like she is getting what she needs outside of the bedroom,  physical intimacy is just not what she wants to give to him.  Then it becomes a vicious cycle.  Doesn’t it?  I know you have been there!

So we have tried therapy…not much help and I won’t get into it.  Let’s just say Boise,Idaho,  is much too small of a place when it comes to finding good therapists.  Desperate for guidance and help, we decided we would try anything.  We rented the movie Fireproof….about making your marriage “fireproof”..surviving anything.  We knew it was a conservative Christian movie on  marriage, but we thought we would watch it anyway.  It ended up being more about “accepting Christ as your Savior” than it was about saving a marriage.  The movie  pretty much turned my husband (and myself) off.  So in hopes that the book it was based on (The Love Dare) was a bit different, I purchased the book and started the journey….  The Love Dare.

The Love Dare gives you 40 days of dares to follow in hopes of helping your marriage grow stronger.  All of it is based on traditional, conservative Christian values.  It has been featured on Focus on the Family.  If you are a fan of Focus on the Family and/or are a Christian with traditional marriage values then this book is for you!  It is full of traditional wisdom, advice and Bible verses!

I, on the other hand,  was skeptical at best when I started this book.  Let’s face it, I bought it for TRACY to read..not for me.  But he didn’t pick up the book for an entire week.  Instead, I picked it up and started taking on the Dares.  At first I was resentful.  I resented the fact that (in my perception) Tracy wasn’t doing any thing to make “us” better.  It was all me.  It was all of my fault and all of me trying to fix it.  It felt very one-sided.  But I kept going through the dares telling myself to “trust the process” (this becomes very important come about day 35..I’ll explain later).  Eventually, I started seeing some change in Tracy and the way he treated me.  This Love Dare stuff was working!  Yay!!!!  We started communicating better.  He started doing little things for me around the house.  My “love tank” (as mentioned in The 5 Love Languages which I read while doing the dare and have already blogged on) was filling up!  Yay!!!!

Then came days 19, 20 and 21!  This is where the book turns to a very Christian book…daring you to pray the prayer of repentance and accepting God into your heart.  Most of the days AFTER days 20 and 21 are focused not on the  marriage itself but on your personal relationship with Jesus and how this pertains to your marriage.  Even going as far as to say, “The truth is, you can’t live without Him (God) and you can’t love without Him.  But there is no telling what He could do in your  marriage if you put your trust in Him.”  So, unless I accept the Christian God, I can not give or receive true love?  My marriage won’t work?  I beg to differ!  I take a great exception to this!  There are millions of marriages that thrive and the spouses do not ascribe to the Christian belief!

With that said, I do believe there are some great points in this book.  And even in the pages I just mentioned, I found that as long as I translated what the book was saying into my own personal spiritual belief and trusted the process, it made a heck of a lot of sense.  In pages 19-21 it talks about asking Christ into your heart.  I do not believe God lives outside of me.  I believe that I am and always have been ONE/UNIFIED with God.  I believe God IS love and God IS perfect…and since I am ONE/UNIFIED with God (and so is my mate) then I have only to Recognize this and know this to be true..to remember this…and then I am UNIFIED with that same love that this book refers to.  And YES!  It helped me with my marriage :).

I loved the Dares in this book…especially in the beginning :).  They were great reminders of how I should show up in my marriage…patience, kindness, selflessness, thoughtful, and so much more!  After ever day (40 in total) of reading, you will receive a dare and then a place to reflect on that day’s dare.  I did learn a great deal about myself and it was totally worth the time and the days it took to do it.  I will continue with much of what I read in  mind.  Remember when I said I would talk about “trusting the process”?  Well here it is.  All the way through, I kept telling myself to let go of the completely Christian stuff that would normally turn  me off and just “trust the process”.  Well around day 35, I started week 7 of my seminary class, and the title of the workbook section for week 7 was “Trust the process of life”.  There are no coincidences in life!  I love how  my life works perfectly!  Being able to blend what I  learned in this book and what I know to be the truth about my spiritual beliefs was a fun challenge and very enlightening :).

Like I said, this book is conservative Christian and I totally believe it is the IT book on marriage for a Christian couple.  It is phenomenal.  I’m still look for the IT book on  marriage for those of us who are metaphysical and more spiritual.  My husband told me that  maybe I should write my own book…umm..ya..not going to happen.  Who would listen to me anyway?  *laugh*  Aside from the fact that we have been together for 27 years and with the exception of the once a year discussion we are incredibly  happy, why else would someone want to learn  marriage secrets from me?  However, I really wish someone would take The Love Dare and re-write it and re-word it from a Religious Science perspective :).  It might have been easy for me to re-think it while I was reading it, but I guarantee you, it would piss some other people off.  *laugh*  Which is a shame…because it really is a great marriage book :).

 

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“What would happen if you discovered the primary love language of your spouse and chose to speak it consistently?”  This is the question Dr. Chapman raises in his book The 5 Love Languages.

I will be honest.  I heard about The 5 Love Languages (the book and the concept) several years ago.  At the time, I did not read the book.  I thought it was a bunch of….ummm….nonsense.  However, I did take the quiz.  My husband took the quiz.  My  kids took the quiz.  But we did nothing with it.

Maybe if we had done something with it, my husband and I would not go through the same cycle of disappointments that we go through every  year.  This year, that cycle hit us hard…harder than it ever has before.  We sought out a marriage counselor..thinking we (I) needed sex therapy.  (Maybe this is too personal to talk about on  my blog….but it’s the truth..and very vital in possibly helping someone who is struggling.)  Every year, my husband and I would “get into it” because he felt like he wasn’t getting enough sex.  I would take it personally and feel like I was being pressured into having sex.  With my history of sexual abuse, this did not go over so well.  But something has to give!  Something has to be changed if our marriage is to survive!  The fact is, we have been together for 27  years, and we love each other.  We do not want to separate and we want to make this work.  So we went to therapy..a sex therapist.  The only one in town, it seems.  But he was old…..VERY OLD.  So old, in fact, he couldn’t hear, couldn’t see, barely walk, and couldn’t remember what we said 2 minutes before.  I’m sure he had great things to say…back when.  But now, well, it just wasn’t working for us.  AND…he made it sound like it was *me* that was the problem.  I just had to suck it up and give it up.  That wasn’t the answer.  So we never went back.

I continued searching for something to help.  We watched the movie Fireproof that was based on the book The Love Dare.  The movie was “okay”.  It had some valid points, but it was highly Christian which was a turn off to my husband and myself.  It seemed to be more about “becoming a Christian” than saving a marriage.  So I thought that maybe the book would be a bit different…… I am currently reading through it on a day by day basis as it is a 40 day Love Dare.  I’m over half way through and will blog about that book when I am done.  At the same time, I decided to read The 5 Love Languages, and I loved it!

I’m sure you have heard about the book “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus”.  I have never read that book, but as I remember what I have  heard about it, I believe it is about the different ways men and women communicate.  5 Love Languages is about the different ways we all communicate our love.  So what are the 5 Love Language?  Words of Affirmation.  Quality Time.  Receiving Gifts.  Acts of Service.  Physical Touch.   In the back of the book, there is a “quiz” for both the husband and the wife to take (individually) to see what their Love Language is.  However, Dr. Chapman says you can also figure out what your spouse’s Love Language is by listening to their complaints.  Are they complaining you never talk to them?  Then Quality Time may be their primary Love Language.  Are they constantly asking you to do things or complaining you never help around the house?  Then consider Acts of Service.  If we listen to the complaints of our spouses, we will likely hear their Love Language. Also, I was told once as a teenager (by my mother in  law) that people do for their loved ones what they would have done for them.  Dr. Chapman says the same thing…..  Does your spouse constantly praise you verbally?  Maybe Words of Affirmation is THEIR love language.

All the way through the book, Dr. Chapman allows you to sit in on his counseling sessions and learn the ways in which he helps his clients.  You get to see how their lives and marriages change!  It’s a fascinating and eye-opening read.  I learned more about myself the way I wish my “love tank” would be filled…and more importantly, how I can help my own husband feel more loved.

Dr. Chapman explains that the “in-love” feeling we all get at the beginning of our relationships can last up to 2 years, but then what?  It might not even last a complete 2 years, and by then, you may already be married!  Then what do you do with the rest of your lives?  “That is what this book is all about.  How do we meet each other’s deep, emotional need to feel loved?  if we can  learn that and choose to do it, then the love we share will be exciting beyond anything we ever felt when we were infatuated.”

Lest you think this book is all about theory and not practice, let me set you straight.  At the end of every chapter, there is a little part called “your turn” where he asks you questions and challenges you to be better.  Do them!  Be an active participant in your life and in healing your relationship (or maybe just making it better).  It certainly won’t get better if you do nothing!  I have to say that my favorite chapter was Chapter 12 “Loving the Unlovely”.  It follows the story of a woman who felt like her marriage was done for but struggled between her faith and morals saying divorce was wrong and the feeling that she just wasn’t loved and there was nothing she could do.  Dr. Chapman gave her a 6 month challenge, and at the end……she had the marriage she had always dreamed of.

Seriously?  Can it be that easy?  Not sure “easy” is the right word.  It can be difficult to feel like you are the only one working on your relationship..and sometimes its not just a feeling; it’s the God’s honest truth!   But I found that trusting the process helps.   As I have been working through The Love Dare, even though I found myself resentful that *I* was doing it and  not Tracy (long story), I have been telling myself to trust the process.  I did my dares, and as I did them, I saw Tracy respond.  (I don’t think Tracy knows I am doing them…..at least I have made a point of not telling him.)  So, now, having finished The 5 Love Languages, I have decided to take the 6 Month Challenge.

My marriage is sacred to me.  I love my husband with all of my heart.  I always have and expect to always feel this way.  I knew the minute I saw him that I was supposed to marry him.  It was that “knowing” that has kept me strong over the last 27 years.  THAT is what I remember when I am hurting most.  I believe that when we are struggling in our marriage, it just means that its time to learn to communicate and grow again…..so here we go… more growing!!!!  Isn’t that what this blog…”The God Project” …is all about??????

So how about you?  Want to take the challenge with me?

 

BTW…..Dr. Chapman has also written a book on The 5 Love Languages for children!  Check out his website http://www.5lovelanguages.com

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